Common Injury - Rotator Cuff Tear

Published: 27th March, 2018

What is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles in the shoulder. Their main job is to stabilise and control the shoulder joint through its movements. Tears in the rotator cuff are common and often occur at the junction between the muscle and the tendon. They are most likely to occur in people who regularly perform throwing activities or overhead movements.

What are the symptoms?

It is important to note that rotator cuff tears can occur without any symptoms at all. However, they can also be painful and restrict the range of movement in your shoulder. Pain can often present on the back or outside of the shoulder and can also refer down the arm. Your arm may feel weak or heavy and your shoulder function can be limited.

What causes a Rotator Cuff tear?

Fast and sharp twisting movements can cause traumatic rotator cuff tears. They can also come on gradually through repetitive heavy lifting or overhead movements. Poor posture can stretch the rotator cuff and weaken it over time which will increase the risk of developing a tear. Degenerative tears can occur as we get older when the tendons in the body naturally weaken. This makes our tendons more prone to tearing even without a specific reason for injury.

How can we help?

The aim of Physiotherapy is to restore pain free movement and function in the shoulder. Your Physiotherapist will discuss with you what exactly you want to achieve and work towards those specific goals.
A combination of manual therapy and exercises has been proven to achieve similar outcomes to surgery. As a result of this, a graded rehabilitation programme with a Physiotherapist is the best step to take to return your shoulder to normal.

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